The View, Koko, London
Thursday 19 February 2009
To enjoy widespread live success but scant commercial recognition is the curse of the second wave of British indie bands inspired by the DIY ethos of The Libertines. Without the trumped-up poeticism of Pete Doherty and his peers or the pop wit of Arctic Monkeys, The View and groups like them have been condemned to the cultural hinterland of entertaining a crowd in different cities every night of the week while being largely ignored by the Top 40.
Rocketing through a set which takes in the hits from Hats Off to the Buskers, as well as material from its just-released follow-up, Which Bitch?, The View put to bed the question of how comfortably the early and late material of a band who have, as the NME claimed, committed “commercial suicide”, could co-exist. The band have made concessions in terms of their popularity, though clearly the low record sales and enthusiastic crowd tell two different stories.
Beginning with “Glass Smash”, the band’s opening gambit is jittery and electric. As if he needs to ask, lead singer Kyle Falconer shouts, “Are you up for it?”, to which the crowd respond with an hour and a half of pint-throwing (into the air, mainly), and riotous dancing. Any illusion of composure which might have been created watching their tight first two numbers is shattered joyously before the third. The crowd adore it.
“One Off Pretender” and “Same Jeans” are dispatched with drunken panache, accompanied by chants of “The View, The View, The View are on fire”, while the band’s performance frequently threatens to collapse under the weight of its own enthusiasm.
While they excel at energising a crowd with drunken hedonism, a softer side is evidenced by “Unexpected”, for which they are joined by a mini-orchestra who succeed in translating a touching song on record into a respectable live performance. “Superstar Tradesman” and “Shock Horror” then raise the energy levels once again.
Closing the set, the band launch into an uproarious cover of Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, to the delight of the crowd. Rousing themselves for a final crescendo, a fountain of half-full plastic pint glasses thrown upwards from the crowd mark their appreciation, while the band struggle through the cover bereft of technical ability but salvaged by glorious drunken energy.
Touring to 22 February ( www.theviewareonfire.com)
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